Planners accommodate plans to turn Joplings into 122-bedroom hotel

The former Joplings store as it stands today.

The former Joplings store as it stands today.

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One of Sunderland's most famous shop sites has a new future in store after council chiefs backed an application to transform it into a hotel.

Joplings in John Street has stood empty since 2010, when the firm which had been running the department store went into administration, leading its 100 members of staff to lose their jobs.

Time for a change, as the developers of the Joplings site plan to take down its distinctive clock.

Time for a change, as the developers of the Joplings site plan to take down its distinctive clock.

Now new roles and regeneration is on its way, after a proposal to turn it into a 122-bedroom hotel were approved with conditions by Sunderland City Council.

However, that means its distinctive blueface clock and concrete canopy will go in the redevelopment, as the company behind it look to give the building a facelift.

Sanguine Hospitality Limited submitted the plans after a previous application by the Hilton group, which was also given the green light, did not progress.

The firm has previously stated the project would cost in the region of £10million.

Joplings, as it looked in June 1962.

Joplings, as it looked in June 1962.

The Liverpool-based firm has worked alongside a host of hotel companies and has held discussions with InterContinental Hotel Group, which could see the finished hotel run as franchise under the Holiday Express brand.

Development director Graham Phllips said: "We are very excited and pleased it has been approved.

"We were confident it was going to be, because a previous application had been successful by Hilton."

The plans show the first to third floors would be turned into a hotel, with the ground floor to be used as retail units and the hotel lobby, along with the servicing and plant for the building.

A queue outside Joplings as shoppers prepare to hit the sales of the John Street shop on June 25, 1975.

A queue outside Joplings as shoppers prepare to hit the sales of the John Street shop on June 25, 1975.

The first floor would have bedrooms, along with a reception and bar and dining area, kitchen and staff and servicing facilities, with the rest of the bedrooms on the other two floors.

The fourth floor would be removed and work carried out to the roof, with no plans for the basement.

External alterations will include new windows with lowered sill levels and the concrete banding beneath the windows.

The overhanging concrete canopy and its "iconic" blueface clock would be removed, with the front of the building to be cleaned up.

Joplings, before its closure in 2010.

Joplings, before its closure in 2010.

The council papers say: "This property is a prominent building in the central Sunderland conservation area and occupies a significant corner location in this historic part of Sunniside.

"Joplings department store is considered to be a distinctive local landmark and has an important place in the social and economic development of the city, opening in High Street East in 1804, before moving to High Street West in 1919, where it stayed until the present premises opened in John Street in 1956."